tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC November 15, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
shameless acts if what they got was what he is now charged with, but i thank you for coming on tonight. patty coble. >> you're welcome. thank you for the opportunity. >> thank you for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. wait, wait, don't tell me! let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews up in new york. leading off tonight, let's go to the videotape. we have two pieces of tape tonight you just can't take your eyes off. the first is herman cain's bumbling answer on libya, which almost makes you forget that "oops" of rick perry's. if fear of foreign policy questions is a criterion for winning the republican presidential nomination, cain is a shoo-in. the other bit of must-see tv is bob costas' interview last night
with penn state's jerry sandusky. to believe sandusky's denials is to believe that everyone else is wrong or lying and that he, jerry sandusky, is innocent of anything bad. well, you've got to see this interview, too. plus, take me to the return window. democrats today began their effort to recall wisconsin governor scott walker. walker's one of three new republican governors in big swing states, john kasich in ohio, and rick scott in florida are the others, whose approval ratings are in the negative territory. both states, those states, could well determine the election, and unpopular republican governors could be very good news for president obama. and with enemies like these, who needs friends. michele bachmann's new web ad makes a devastating case against every viable republican in the race. in other words, it doesn't include her. it's so good, she's done the democrats' job for them. more must-see tv tonight in the sideshow. and let me finish with the two things driving the republican presidential race -- hate and indifference to
experience. we start with herman cain. michael steele is the former chair of the republican national committee. he's now an msnbc political analyst. and dana milbank is a columnist for "the washington post." gentlemen, let's go straight to the tape, as howard used to say. here's herman cain yesterday answering a question from the editorial board of the "milwaukee journal sentinel" about libya. let's watch and listen. >> so you agreed with president obama on libya or not? >> okay, libya. president obama supported the uprising, correct? president obama called for the removal of gadhafi. just want to make sure we're talking about the same thing before i say, yes, i agreed, or
no, i didn't agree. i do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reason. nope, that's a different one. um -- let's see, i've got to go back and see. got all this stuff twirling around in my head. i would have done a better job of determining who the opposition is, and i'm sure that our intelligence people had that -- had some of that information. based upon who made up that opposition, okay, based upon who made up that opposition might have caused me to make some different decisions about how we participated. >> what do you make of that, michael steele, that performance by the candidate who's now leading in some of the polls for the republican presidential nomination? >> honestly painful.
it's very difficult to watch. it's very difficult because you know, and everyone has acknowledged, that this is a very, very weak spot for herman cain. and i think that at this level and certainly at this point in the campaign, you've got to get this stuff where it's second nature. it's not the same as what perry went through the other night, where you're going through a check -- and you just blank. this is clearly trying to pull the card that has the points, and that's just not how you go about speaking about foreign policy, because it is such a fluid area of our life in this country and in this world. and you've got to be on top of it. so i think it was a very painful moment to watch. there's a lot, you know, that can be made of it, for the negative. but i think that the bottom line is folks are looking at that and going, okay, that 3:00 call in the morning, you know? and that's not a spot you want to be in when the vote starts in
six weeks. >> let's go to dana, because i usually don't go -- first, it's not about brains. the guy's a smart guy. it's about preparation. >> absolutely. >> i want to go to dana about this. clearly, it's not about background. it's about curiosity. he obviously hasn't been reading the paper the last "x" amount of months about libya. it's in the papers. it's not that he has to go deep into the foreign section. it sits there. one of the things you should know about if you want to be president of the united states. that's a valid judgment. what's yours? >> yeah, i would say so. this is different from him not knowing what a neo-conservative is. that struck a lot of us as odd, as participating in the political debate over the last decade. sort of impossible to miss libya altogether, yet he seemed to have done that. and if anything, playing that brief part of the clip is friendly for herman cain, it goes on not for 53 seconds like rick perry but for five minutes. >> what made you think i'd stop there. let's go to the rest of it. generosity is not the name of the show. it's not "success" magazine.
it's called "hardball." cain struggled to explain his thought process on libya for over five minutes, as dana milbank helped us with. let's watch some more of what he wants us to see. dana, here it is buddy. >> some people want you to say, well, as president, you're supposed to know everything. no, you don't. i believe in having all of the information, as much of it as i possibly can, rather than making a decision or making a statement about whether i totally agreed and didn't agree, when i wasn't privy to the entire situation. >> so i'm not clear, then, what was the parts that you're criticizing the president for of how he handled it? >> okay. the opposition that wanted to overthrow gadhafi. who are they? how organized are they? how strong are they? who would be the apparent leader? now that they have succeeded, did they have a plan for how they were going to govern? or are you going to end up now
with a country in complete chaos? this is what i mean by -- >> but if they didn't have that, then would you back off and not got that involved? >> it would depend on which part they didn't have. what i'm saying is, it's not a clear yes/no answer, because all of those things, i think, should have been assessed. that's what i'm saying. >> michael, i think you got -- excuse me -- i think you've got it here. it's not that he doesn't have a lot of pieces to the question. he has a lot of the elements of what anybody in the presidency would have to ask. he gets to it, but no cojensy, no compelling coherence. no i've got it together. i've thought this through. i think i know where it's going. it's like he's never thought of it until that guy asked the question. >> that's precisely it, chris. i know how these sessions go, the preparation on issues and the debate sessions go, and what the candidate has to do is to take all that information, because you can be in a room for six hours and they can go
through a whole series of issues with you. you've got to take those cards. you've got to take your notes and you've got to go back and begin to internalize this so that when you run into, you know, a board meeting like that or a reporter out on the campaign trail who asks the pop question, you can, you know, just viscerally respond with your answer because you know it. you've internalize it had and understand exactly the nuances of it, and i think that's the part that's been a little bit of a struggle for herman in just terms of taking all of the complexities of foreign policy and internalizing in such a way that when you're asked about libya, you know two, three things off the top of your head that you want to respond to immediately because what you would do as president is a, b and c. >> yeah. >> and so that i think is the stumbling block right now. >> here's my tough critique. you know, darn it, it's not just an analytical problem for this guy, dana, and michael, it's not just an answer the tricky question from the tricky reporter, who's trying to catch you. most americans had a human
response when they heard that gadhafi, who's a bad guy, was heading to benghazi to wipe out an entire province, practically, because they were rebelling. he was going to wipe them out. he said, i'm going to kill everybody there. people had -- hillary clinton, to her credit, and samantha pour and susan rice at the u.n., the three people in foreign policy community said, no, we are not going to stand by for another rwanda. we're not going to let another african government just come in and kill everybody because they feel like it. that was a gut reaction. it seems to me that mr. cain did not have a gut reaction as to whether we should have gone in. and that is a problem. you should have a reaction. either stay out because you're principled and you're isolationism, or, damn it, american people have to take responsibility as human beings, occasionally. >> well, right. and his reaction was that he, ultimately, wound up agreeing. and as the clip closes, he says, well, maybe president obama did everything right in the first place. the instinct is to oppose obama, no matter what he has done. and i think that's true across the board among the republicans. the problem is, there are many
cogent critiques to be made. the problem is that he didn't settle on one of those, which would indicate that he didn't have one in his head in the first place. >> yesterday, cain's campaign tried to explain the embarrassing episode saying that the candidate himself was saying operating on only four hours of sleep. the candidate himself didn't seem to think there was anything wrong with his answer when he was asked about it this afternoon. let's watch this interesting back and forth. >> being in a room where you're being asked question after question on different topic after different topic, i paused. and i don't understand why that pause created so much "controversy." i have never not taken responsibility for what some people perceive as mishaps, missteps, or whatever the case may be. in that particular case, i paused to gather my thoughts. >> well, last night cain had this odd exchange, as i said, with a reporter who asked him about his libya comments. let's watch this one. >> mr. cain, do you think the libya comments reinforced the --
>> let us walk through! let us walk through! >> -- that you don't have a thorough understanding of foreign policy? >> let's walk through. 9-9-9. >> well, now he's speaking german, michael. that's nein, nein, in. he's just laughing it off. is he in freefall, this guy, as a candidate? as an msnbc analyst now, do you think his time is passing? >> i think the peak has been reached, and i think the numbers are showing that. and i think this type of an event continues, if not accelerates those numbers beginning to flatline. and that's unfortunate, because i think herman had an opportunity to really shape some of the debate here, but it is the personal missteps that seem to be the killer. and i think it's unfortunate. >> it's troubling, because we do want somebody who understands
business, and that's his strength, but it's just like pulling the sheets across from your wife in the middle of the night. somebody gets cold. there's some areas you just don't cover when you say, i'm an expert on godfather pizza and the restaurant association, i don't know knowing about north africa. anyway, thank you, michael steele. >> that's why you get a bigger sheet. >> that is one answer. for the better off 1%, that's true. thank you. coming up, the man at the center of the penn state child sex scandal speaks out for the first time. what a get this was last night for "rock center'. jerry sandusky was interviewed last night by nbc's bob costas, and he says he's innocent of everything. it's must-see tv. we have it coming up next here on "hardball," only on msnbc. first a gentle balm. then the removal cream. effective together with less irritation and as gentle as a feather. new olay hair removal duo. that's not how successful investing is done. at e-trade it's harnessing some of the most powerful yet easy to use trading tools on the planet
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back to "hardball." former penn state assistant coach jerry sandusky last night admitted to showering with young boys, but claims, or says, he's innocent of the 40 counts he's currently charged with, including, quote, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. for the latest on this story, i'm joined by msnbc political analyst and nationally syndicated radio host, michael smerconish. let's watch the interview. here's jerry sandusky last night with bob costas on "rock center." >> i said that i am innocent of those charges. >> innocent? completely innocent and falsely accused in every aspect? >> well, i could say that, you know, i have done some of those things. i have horsed around with kids. i have showered after workouts.
i have hugged them, and i have touched their leg, without intent of sexual contact. but, um, so if you look at it that way, there are things that wouldn't -- you know, would be accurate. >> are you denying that you had any inappropriate sexual contact with any of these underage boys? >> yes, i am. >> never touched their genitals? never engaged in oral sex? >> right. >> what about mike mcqueary, the grad assistant who in 2002, walked into the shower, where he says in specific detail, that you were forcibly raping a boy who appeared to be 10 or 11 years old? that his hands were up against the shower wall and he heard rhythm slap, slap, slapping >> i would say that that's false. >> what would be his motive to lie?
>> you would have to ask him that. >> what did happen in the shower the night that mike mcqueary happened upon you and the young boy? >> okay. we were showering and horsing around and he actually turned all the showers on and was actually sliding across the floor and we were, as i recall, possibly like snapping a towel and horseplay. >> my mouth opened. michael smerconish, where do i begin? where do i begin here? why did he take a shower to begin with, with the kid? he wasn't involved in the sports activity, he was coaching. isn't that the most primitive question you can ask. what are you doing in the shower? you're the grownup. the kids had the sports event. >> i think it's devastating. i don't even know why he even granted that interview to bob costas. i have to believe that his lawyer must have been of the opinion that every potential jury pool on the planet earth is in the process of being
poisoned, so they needed to at least have some footage out there of him denying the charges. but, chris, in the process, he corroborates many elements of those charges that he faces, and then comes just shy of giving an admission. for example, he's acknowledging, yeah, that's me, that's the guy they're all talking about. yes, i was at penn state. yes, i was in the shower. yes, i was naked. yes, i was with a kid. yes, there was touching going on. so it's going to be very, very hard for him to later -- >> what about the towel snapping? what about this towel snapping, that makes the sound of the sexual activities that he's accused of? what's up with towel snapping? how did that fit into his defense, his alibi? >> i think it was all very odd, odd as it sounds. i think it was a horrific interview for him to have given and terrible, devastating for his defense. >> by the way, the other side of the coin, costas was perry mason here. this was brilliant interrogation. every time the guy got the question bsing, he came around
the other corner and hit him from the other side and said, therefore. god, he carved him. >> how does he even -- here's a followup i would have loved to have asked. how does he even remember the incident with mcqueary, if it were as innocent as he would have us believe, it happened in 2002. it was a walkby by mcqueary. if there was nothing untoward taking place, how can he now speak with such a level of specificity about the kid turning on all the showers and sliding on his buttocks across the floor? i'm telling you, there are so many different ways to chew him up, i think, based on that interview. >> yeah, i have touched their leg. why would he agree to that? why would he say a limited, modified hangout, like they used to say in watergate, admit 80% of it? >> right. what he's going to try to do is say, and that's where it ended. but the more i read this grand jury report, i don't see where there could be any in-between. either he's stone-cold innocent and didn't do any of this, or he's guilty of all of it.
you know, that old adage, you can't get a little bit pregnant. >> and the horrible part is the mind control he exercised over these kids to make them think that he was an adult and that this was normal, well, allegedly, sure. but here's more of sandusky's interview with bob costas on "rock center" last night where bob asked the former coach if he was attracted to young boys. this is really bizarre. let's listen. >> are you sexually reacted to young boys? to underage boys? >> am i sexually attracted to underage boys? >> yes. >> sexually attracted? you know, no -- you know, i enjoy young people. i love to be around them. i -- but, no, i'm not sexually attracted to young boys. >> how do you feel about what has happened to penn state and to joe paterno and to the penn state football program and your part in it? >> well, how would you think that i would feel about a university that i attended,
about people that i've worked with, about people that i care so much about? how do you think i would feel about it? i feel horrible. >> you feel horrible. do you feel culpable? >> i'm not sure i know what you mean? >> do you feel guilty? do you feel as if it's your fault? >> no, i don't think it's my fault. i've obviously played a part in this. >> how would you define the part you played? what are you willing to concede that you've done that was wrong and you wish you had not done it? >> well, in retrospect, you know, i shouldn't have showered with those kids, you know, so -- >> that's it? >> yeah, well, that's -- that's what hits me the most. >> michael, you're an attorney as well as a broadcaster, so will this show up in court? what we just saw with bob costas and jerry sandusky? >> you can rest assured the
prosecution is going to attempt to have it shown in court. sandusky's got a fifth amendment right and may try and keep it out. of course, nothing prevents him from testifying on his own behalf. chris, can i call your attention to something? because on the sexual attraction question that bob costas asked, do you notice the tick? do you notice the tell where sandusky, at least in my opinion, needed a moment to think about it, and, therefore, only time in the interview he repeated the question. if you were to ask me, if i were to ask you, if you have a sexual attraction to young boys, my hunch is you'd immediately say are you blanking me and you'd instantaneously respond. he had to think that over. he needed to repeat that question before he offered an explanation. devastating, as i said, at the outset. >> do you think that might be his potential defense? that he has this drive that he can't control? >> not based on what he just said, because that would be at odds with the pretty much blanket denial that he just issued. look, "the new york times" reported today that ten more
have now come out of the woodwork. their lawyer -- sandusky's lawyer is trying to say they're looking for a payday. i think there's strength in numbers. i think that there were a lot of individuals who were scared to death to speak up, who are now seeing a comfort level in growing the number and speaking and telling what happened. >> are we going to get a change of venue here of some kind? the legal term, i'm not sure, but where you move the trial to somewhere else besides even the commonwealth of pennsylvania to get a fair trial for this crime? >> afghanistan. >> no, seriously. do you think -- >> i don't know where you could go. honestly, you could move within the commonwealth, but you know what this is like. this is leading every newscast, every newspaper, every radio broadcast. you'd be hard-pressed to come up with a pennsylvania county where you could go. >> you know, the people of pennsylvania, especially central pennsylvania, get outside the big urban areas, penn state is the heart of pennsylvania. and it's not just the football team. it's where you go, regular
people go to college. i mean, my mother went there part-time, my niece went there, my brother, charlie, went there. so many people in pennsylvania have relatives close, core family members who went to that school and take honor from that degree. and they should. i don't know how we're going to get past this in the short run, michael. what are we going to do about it? how do we restore the name of that wonderful university? >> well, we've got to also restore what's going on in pennsylvania, generally. i've written about the subject that we need a change in the law that obligates anyone who's in the loop on the abuse of children to drop the dime. doesn't matter that you go to your supervisor, shouldn't matter if you're within an institution, you must report. delaware has that. 17 other states have it. pennsylvania needs to have it. >> okay. thank you, michael smerconish. thank you so much for your heart and your mind. up next, michele bachmann's new web video is so devastating for her republican rivals, it's as if she's done the president's dirty work for them, and i mean it. check out the sideshow coming up next.
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now for the sideshow. first up, surprise attack. it's that time in the campaign, well, for 2012 republican candidate michele bachmann, and with that comes an interesting new ad. if you thought the initial sympathy bachmann expressed for perry after his mid-debate brain freeze was genuine, this ad might have you giving that a second thought. let's take a look at michele bachmann on attack. >> i believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. >> it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make. >> your policy towards iran is if they want to develop a nuclear weapon, that's their
right? >> why wouldn't it be natural if they might want a weapon? >> if you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they've been brought there, i don't think you have a heart. >> china has indicated that they are trying to develop nuclear capabilities. >> you did support an individual mandate? >> yes, sir. >> oh, that's what i'm saying. we got the idea from you and the heritage foundation. >> commerce, education, and the, um -- oops. >> here's a question, don't you think tacking on a clip or two of balkman's campaign to give obama camp's a few ideas. and there still hasn't been a single vote cast for the 2012 presidential race, but there's one thing we have certainly seen no shortage of -- debates. they started up in may,and we've already reached almost a dozen gop face-offs so far. let's take a look at how late-night host david letterman takes on the debate overload, as well as the complaint that candidates aren't given an equal amount of speaking time. >> if we have to sit through anymore of these republican
debates, i'm ready for a dictatorship. last week they debated about the economy. this week it's foreign policy. next week, next week, movie trivia! ron paul is saying he wasn't treated fairly by the organizers of the debate. i pulled the tape. you be the judge. >> at the south carolina republican debate, cbs showed its bias against ron paul by placing his podium next to the ice machine. hang in there, congressman. >> the question is when they managed to clear the right-wing field for a single anti-romney candidate. that's when it's going to get interesting. one guy or one woman against romney. then we'll see a decision. finally, top republicans in congress have made no secret that their top goal is to make barack obama a one-term president. now that mr. obama, now he says he has a kindred spirit in the former president. which one? hint, he's a favorite of mine.
>> you know, president kennedy used to say after he took office that what surprised him the most about washington is finding out that things were just as bad as he'd been saying they were. i can relate. when you've got the top republican in the senate saying that his party's number one priority isn't putting people back to work, isn't trying to fix the economy, but is to try to defeat me, you've got a sense that things in washington aren't really on the level. >> president kennedy. and today one of obama's potential gop opponents, rick perry, unveiled a plan to overhaul washington, part of which includes a stipulation to reduce congressmen to part-time employees. part-time employees. you know, like governor of texas. hmm. up next, the effort to recall wisconsin governor scott walker begins today. sees between walker, john kasich, and rick scott, there are some unpopular high-profile first-term republican governors, which should help president
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crib late this morning. in an e-mail from early november, penn state assistant coach mike mcqueary insists he did stop an alleged sexual assault by jerry sandusky and did report it to police. nasa pass posted some job openings looking for a crop of new astrts sary, $64,000. job requirement, frequent travel may be required. i'll say. the motivating factor and continuing theme driving elections this year, don't you think? and today marks the start of the effort to try to recall wisconsin's republican governor, scott walker. walker has taken hits for his effort to end collective bargaining rights for public employees in his state. last week it was governor john kasich who received a black eye when his anti-union law was
defeated soundly in wisconsin. by the way, also, walker in wisconsin, kasich in ohio, and rick scott in florida are now three new and very unpopular republican governors. and their unpopularity could give a boost to president obama's campaign in all three important states. ed rollins is the former campaign manager for presidential candidate michele bachmann and the former political director for president reagan in '84. and ron reagan is a political commentator and author. let me start with ed rollins. these states, just to get them clear, our late great colleague tim russert always used to talk about ohio. ohio, ohio. ohio this year would be basically wisconsin, ohio, florida. if obama holds all three, he wins. right? >> sure. as republicans, if we lose florida or ohio, the game is over. we can't put 270 together. so those are critical. >> you've never won an election in your party without ohio? >> we've never won an election. florida now is the key for us also. so my sense is that those are the real battlegrounds. >> we'll take a look here. ron, take a look at this. according to a poll from the conservative wisconsin policy
research institute, scott walker, the republican governor, is underwater with an approval rating of just 42%, while 56% disapprove of the job he's doing out there. ohio governor john kasich, i know him pretty well, is suffering according to the latest quinnipiac poll. he's down to 36% approval of his job he's been doing as governor, 51% disapprove of him. and the quinnipiac poll also shows the florida governor, rick scott, don't like that guy much, isn't any ore popular, he's at 36% approval rating while 50% disapprove of him. some of these guys are clearly unlikable, starting with rick scott. but i do wonder about kasich, whether he can come back in that critical state of ohio. do you buy this argument that the governor being unpopular a year out can bring down his party when the presidential race occurs next november? >> well, that might not be -- there may not be the exact connection between the governor and the presidential race here, but i think these governors are symbolic of a republican party that has overreached that has overreached drastically since 2010.
and what they've done in overreaching is tipped their hand. people who voted for scott walker for governor in wisconsin weren't voting for an end to collective bargaining rights. they got that, though, with scott walker. and think about the fact that walker and kasich, they've been in office for only ten months. it's one thing to have buyer's remorse after three years thinking, the guy isn't doing what i thought he was going to do, but ten months in, to want a recall. and the wisconsin recall looks like it might really happen, they've really got a chance there. there must be some awfully unhappy people in wisconsin thinking, this isn't what we voted for, this isn't the agenda we wanted. >> walker may be worried out in wisconsin. look at that ad he's aired right now, starting last night during the green bay packers' game last night. let's watch. >> i'm committed to working together to create more jobs, to improve our schools, and to protect our seniors. you know, wisconsin's best days are yet to come. it won't happen overnight, but we are on our way. >> i love the football music, ed rollins.
i'm not sure it's going to work. here's my question to you. why do republicans, and maybe democrats do the same thing, enlighten me, they get ticked off at the other party, so they go in and settle old scores against the unions. that's really what they do. the public doesn't have a score to settle. it's the republican professionals that do. >> i think all of these governors came in with very serious budget problems, and obviously, one of the ways they thought they could resolve them, they had lit a fuse, they have energized the other side. i don't concede in any way, shape, or form that these three governors are going to be, by a year from now, in desperate shape. scott is probably the first one to have the big test. but -- >> he's not going to get re-elected, is he? that guy? he's a troll. he's a troll. >> you can't tell. he was an upset winner this time, but john kasich is one of the toughest candidates, as you should remember. >> i like him. >> in 1982, can i tell you when i was the white house political director, john kasich somehow got into my office as a candidate, and i said who are
you? and he said, i'm running against some democrat. and the year we lost 26 seats, he beat a democrat. >> '82. >> '82. >> you mean that campaign i was involved in? >> that campaign you were involved. he is a very tough candidate. he was not expected to win in ohio. he came back, he won big. so my sense is they've got their guards up. they know they're in a battle. but as far as the presidential race, you know, tough battles sometimes make your troops stronger and we'll see. >> you know what, ron, out in california, there where you live, it seems to me, you saw the same exact thing, overkill. a popular guy like arnold schwarzenegger gets elected in a roll call. comes in as mr. clean. the first thing he does is target -- i'm going to get the fire fighters, public employees. i'm going to get the nurses, you know. i'm going to get the teachers. the public said, no way, jose, you're not getting any of that. he misread completely his mandate, which was clean up government. his way of cleaning up was to go after the employees, the middle-income employees. >> a lot of these republicans, i think they get into rooms together and start talking to one another, and they imagine that the public themselves
thinks the biggest problem america faces is, you know, public school kindergarten teachers and firemen and things like that. and it's just not true. public school kindergarten teachers and firemen are people's neighbors. they know them. they don't think that they're bad people. and the republicans have completely whiffed on that one. >> don't you think he should have known about kindergarten cops, at least. didn't he play one? a poll from the conservative wisconsin policy research institute shows that obama beats romney by 11 points out there. what do you make of that out there in wisconsin? >> it's going to be a tough state. there's a big senate race there too with tommy thompson, who's going to be our candidate. a year's a long time to go. >> the economy can't get any worse. here's obama's quinnipiac in the head-to-head matchups in ohio. obama's up three over romney. that's not a lot, but something. a statistical dead heat. the quinnipiac poll also shows obama in a statistical heat in florida, trailing romney by three down there. what do you make?
he's in the running in all three states when we have a 9% unemployment rate. suppose it drops to 8. he walks. >> he doesn't walk. he's an incumbent president that's made a lot of promises he hasn't lived up to. at the end of the day, and i put schwarzenegger totally out of the camp. he never really was a republican, at least not like these guys, and i think at the end. day, he made some foolish mistakes. these guys are pretty smart guys. once again, i don't know about scott, i don't know him well. >> yeah, step away from him. >> the other two are going to be tough. florida is a state we can win without the governor. the other states we definitely need the governor. >> serious business here. thank you, ed. and thank you, ron reagan. up next, congresswoman gabrielle giffords, she's speaking to her constituents. for the first time now of course with what she went through. we'll hear the congresswoman in her own words, next. this is "hardball," only on msnbc.
we're hearing the voice of congresswoman gabrielle giffords, giffords who survived a gunshot wound who her head last january recorded a message for her constituents out in arizona. >> hello. this is gabby giffords. i miss you. i miss tucson. the mountains, blue skies, even the heat. i'm getting stronger. i'm getting better. it's been a hard year -- for all of us. >> great doctors. anyway, the message was recorded last week and released today on the congresswoman's facebook page. giffords' husband, mark kelly, by the way says that she would like to run for re-election if her health continues to improve. we'll be right back.
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the affordable care act is working. they call it obama care. i do care. that's right. the question is, why don't you care? some of these folks making central to their campaign pledge to make sure that 30 million people don't have health insurance. what kind of inspiring message is that? >> welcome back to "hardball." that was the president on october 4th, defending what the republicans have derisively dubbed obama care. and warning them that vowing to repeal obamacare is not necessarily a recipe for elections. now the highest court in the land will decide on the constitutional of president obama's signature domestic accomplishment. and the signature will likely come down in june of next year, five months before our presidential election. dr. ezekiel emanuel is with the university of pennsylvania, a senior fellow for the center of american progress as well.
he worked on the health care reform for the obama administration from january of '09 to january this year. zeke, thank you very much for joining we have a couple simple questions here. one of them is, if the supreme court wipes out the individual mandate that makes young people, healthy people, pay some sort of health insurance premium, will that kill the financing structure of the obama bill? >> well, it does what -- it puts it into a debt spiral. plenty of places have tried to have exchanges where people go and buy insurance without a mandate. voluntary. what you end up happening is healthy people don't go in until they get sick and that leads to a death spiral because costs just rise, becomes only the sick get insurance and makes them very unstable. all ten have failed. >> yeah, so it's just like social security. you know, the idea of making it mandatory is so people who don't feel like saving or can't save are forced to save by taxing them. thereby, they are forced to take
responsibility for their retirement years. in this case, you're saying to people, okay, you're young and healthy, nothing's going it hurt you, you think you're bulletproof. someday you're going to be old and someday you'll probably have a health challenge, we can bet on that so you better start ponying up now. isn't that the principle? >> that is the principle. let's remember that the individual mandate, which republicans are now attacking as unconstitutional, was a republican idea. it's not an idea that president obama came up with, himself. i mean, it's an idea that the republicans have been pushing for nearly two decades. >> why did he allow himself to get painted as a lefty, as a socialist? i could make the republican argument for exactly what he did. why should people be free loaders and go to e.r. and live off the premiums other people pay? why don't you make everybody do their share and take responsibility for their own health? if you get run over in a car somewhere on a highway somewhere, you want somebody to come with an ambulance and you want somebody to take care of you in the hospital. who's going to pay for that? about time you paid for that.
that sounds like a republican self-reliant argument. why didn't obama sell it that w way? >> chris, it's a bipartisan argume argument. everyone believes we should be responsible and do what we can. that's the heart and soul of the individual mandate and all a system when we share in contributing to insurance pool, knowing over the course of our lifetime we will use that insurance and use health care. it's an argument that everyone can share in. and the republicans raised it and have this very good idea, and the democrats put it into action and once they put it into action, they're calling foul. >> well, zeke, here's the bad news. the family foundation's health tracking poll shows 51% view the health reform bill unfavorfulau. 34% favorably. has this been bad pr, the public is against a public mandate? what caused the numbers to go the wrong direction for the president and you?
>> after every piece of major legislation in american history, you have a period of turmoil where people aren't sure, people are upset about it. that was true after social security, true after medicare and medicaid. as they get experience with the law, i think they're going to find it much more beneficial and support is going to grow. that's what's actually happened in massachusetts. support in massachusetts for their mandate has grown over time. i will say we have a very good bill. it's not perfect, but it's very good. i do think the administration hasn't done a great job of getting out the message about why it's important. millions of people have already benefited. seniors who've had some of their drug costs defrayed. a million young people who've been able to go on to their parents' health insurance plan. this is even before the big changes in the health care reform bill go into place. in my view, the right time scale for assessing this health care reform is going to be a decade. by 2020, are we going to have a better health system? >> if we still have the program by then. the two best arguments are
keeping your young adult children under your health care before they got themselves organized in life which everybody who's a parent understands. i have three kids in their 20s. the other one, you can't deal with pre-existing conditions protections unless everybody kicks in. >> recollect. >> that's how you sell it. take the good stuff and sell the other stuff with it. thank you, ezekiel emanuel for being on the program. when we return, two problems facing the presidential election campaign. wait until you hear what's wrong with the republicans. with such a clown show going on. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. you name it.
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let me finish tonight with this. the utter confusion in the republican presidential nominating process results from two discernible facts. one they hate. that's the simplest explanation of the disastrous course of this selection process. they hate so much they are not in the mood to fall in love with a candidate or even falling behind someone. their brains racked as they are by hatred, they lack the like mode. they are in no mood looking around for a politician they like. the hating is so much more satisfying. the second factor. they don't respect experience. one after another the candidates on the right have stepped
forward. each has had his or her time in the limelight yet out there in the audition stage, one after another, has showed they don't have the stuff. embarrassed by the exposure, they have shrunk back into the shadows, and so the republicans have a problem. they are consumed by hate, so consumed they can't think positively of whom they may want to lead them. they just can't change the subject from opposition to government, and they can't get over the fact that to govern this country requires some experience in government, some knowledge of how you lead a government. i'm reminded often these days of how superior the competition was once for the american presidency. say what you will about richard nixon when he and jack kennedy debated back in 1960. the american people were proud of what they were watching. they were proud of the choice they would have to make and were allowed to make. what the heck has happened to our country we're now being asked to consider the presidential credentials of political walkons like rick perry, herman cain, michele bachmann? the best question the next moderator could ask looms. are you people serious? is the republican party serious? are we really going to get down for the entire season of